Hiking Glacier and Waterton Lakes National Parks
by Erik Molvar (Falcon Guides)
© 2012 Erik Molvar/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.
This is one of my favorite hikes in the park - high elevation views and gorgeous mountain meadows, streams and wildlife. The last switchback stretch to the pass is a bit challenging but rewarding. It is worth the extra mile to walk out the unofficial trail toward the glacier down from the pass.
The first 1 1/2 miles of this hike is shared with a horse trail. the remaining 4 1/2 have occasional horse droppings. After the first portion, the trail is OK. As bad as the first is, the end result of the lake is absolutely the prettiest sight I have ever seen. The horse manure keeps it from being a 5 star.
It is again the destination that makes this trail worth walking. Cracker Lake is a turquoise color that you will not find in any other lake in the park. It is beautiful. The hike to the lake is nothing spectacular. There is a decent climb starting with a few switch-backs and then into a steady uphill assent the rest of the way. The trail back offers better views as far as scenery goes.
Moderate but short backpack. One of my first and favorite overnight hikes of all time. Went during the heat of summer and spent time cliff jumping into the lake's glacier cold waters. Only negative is too much horse poo along the trail.
The first 1 1/2 miles we had to share with the horses. They could not go any farther due to the snow. After that it was great. Great views going to Cracker Lake and you have to stop and turn around to see the mounitains closeing you in. With only 3 campsites you dont have to worry about crowds of people. Between the bowl 3000 ft above you and the turquoies color of the lake it is a great overnighter.
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